It’s getting more and more common for the people in Japan to join marathons and road races recently. There are so many reasons why people started to run.
1. The government’s strategy for decreasing unhealthy people is one reason, and at the same time people started to think about their health.
2. Training and enhancing themselves by running somehow matches to the character of many Japanese people (not all, of course).
3. The sporting goods companies try to sell very fashionable running gear, running shoes, and other goods to run more comfortably.
The kinds of people, especially women, who wear these different fashions, are often seen in Japan. At the Imperial Palace it is a very popular place to run. There are a lot of locker rooms and shower rooms around there as well to cater to the many runners who visit.
It’s very difficult to enter the races especially if its a popular one, or have a flat course. For many runners, a flat course offers the opportunity to update their personal best time for a race. We sometimes jokingly call this “the first race”. Sometimes we can’t even click the website to enter the race because it has already sold out. The most difficult race to join in Japan is “Tokyo Marathon”. Only 1 out or 10 people can do this race. Some people say they will practice if they can get the ticket for the Tokyo Marathon.
After winning the “first race” of signing up to run, then you can go to the actual race. So you actually have to win the right to run! But don’t be relieved just yet. You should think about the accommodation, transportation, meeting place with your friends, food, and practicing to complete in the race! Those things are very important to help run smoothly on the day of the race. You also need to be heathy (not having cold, and so on).
While running, you can see a lot of lot of people. Some do a race just to enjoy running, while others run more seriously. You might also see the people wearing the costumes (cartoon character) along the way. You can also see so many local people cheering and distributing food and drinks. That gives us so much energy to keep running towards the goal.
After the race, you can enjoy hanging out with your friends at local Japanese restaurants called “Izakayas”. You can enjoy food and various beverages. It’s called the “third race”. Oops — it’s not, it’s “Uchiage”. It’s not mandatory, but if you have great friends to do drink together with, that lets you keep your motivation to run. Running is an individual’s sport, but if you have friends who run you can enjoy your joining marathon races in Japan more.